4 November 2021
The Netherlands largest pension fund, ABP, will stop investing in fossil fuel producers, such as oil and gas companies. ABP made this decision in response to recently published climate change reports. ABP implied that it will gradually sell its investments in the oil, gas and coal sectors.
From 6 April 2022, disclosures will be mandatory for 1,300 UK-registered firms, including private businesses with more than 500 staff or annual turnover of £500m.
On 8 September 2021 the French Court of Cassation ruled that if an employer has the right to make their employees work overtime, they cannot systematically and constantly require it. In this case, the employer asked an employee to work overtime every day. The court held that systematic use of overtime constituted a change in working time which could not be unilaterally imposed. The employee's prior agreement to the change was required. Consequently, the employee’s refusal to work overtime did not constitute a fair reason for disciplinary action or dismissal.
The Times has reported that accountancy, financial services, technology and consulting companies are rushing to hire young high-fliers as the UK economy rebounds. According to a report by KPMG and the Recruitment of Employment Confederation, companies are offering young professionals unprecedented starting salaries or considerable wage increases if they join the company, due to the lack of available candidates. More widely, the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) annual earnings survey revealed that full-time earnings in the UK grew the most since 2008 in April 2021, up by 4.3% from a year earlier. The head of earnings at the ONS, Nicola White, commented that 'increases this year were most marked for the groups worst affected in 2020, such as younger people, men and those in lowest-paid jobs'.
The Chancellor increased the National Living Wage from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour for workers aged 23 and over in his Budget on Wednesday 27 October. Rishi Sunak also announced increases to the National Minimum Wage for younger workers and an increase in the Apprentice Rate. Some business groups have said that the rises will put further pressure on businesses as they also struggle with higher prices.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published guidance on religious exemptions to US employer vaccine mandates. It states that under the Civil Rights Act 1964, workers must tell their employers if they wish to rely on a religious exemption. The guidance also provided that employers should regard workers' religious beliefs as sincere but noted that employers can seek more information from the relevant workers, to a limited degree. If a worker does not offer the requested information, it may be difficult for the worker to argue that their employer improperly denied them the exemption.
Greg Hayes, the chief executive of Raytheon, the US aerospace and defence firm, has warned that the company will lose 'several thousand' workers who have refused the Covid-19 vaccine. Hayes made these comments as Raytheon builds up to the US government's 8 December deadline for federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated. Raytheon is recruiting to combat the losses.
Retailers in New Zealand have welcomed the government's announcement which requires all workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 where customers themselves must show vaccination certificates to access the businesses. The new rules will apply to businesses where workers come into contact with customers such as hospitality, retail, gyms and hairdressers.